Building Bridges – abstract

Building Bridges

Exhibiting and Mediating Religious Coexistence
at the National Museum for the History of Immigration (MNHI)

Dr. Mathias Dreyfuss,
Head of the Museum Education Department, Musée national de l’histoire de l’immigration, Paris

Last Autumn, the National Museum for the History of Immigration welcomed an exhibition initiated in 2015 by the Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilizations on religious coexistence in Mediterranean sites. This exhibition raises issues about contemporary religious identities and focused, for the version presented at the MNHI, on the importance of migrations around the Mediterranean Sea on these shared religious sites.

This exhibition offered an original opportunity to experiment with innovative discourses and pedagogical tools on contemporary religious identities, often seen as conflictual and exclusive. The mediation created especially on this occasion by the MNHI aimed at deconstructing these representations but also at underlining the close interaction between religious identities and colonial and postcolonial history.

This presentation will focus on both the context of the exhibition in its original version at the Mucem and the MNHI, the various pedagogical tools and activities (workshops, guided tours) created by the pedagogical team, and the reception of the exhibition by groups of teachers and pupils.

On a more personal level, my previous experience as Head of Education Department at the Jewish Museum in Paris (mahJ) for nine years (until last Summer) will help bring a comparative perspective.